3rd Week: The Galapagos Islands
Formed over 5 million years ago by volcanic eruptions, the Galapagos Islands are considered the ultimate living museum. A showcase of evolution, the Galapagos are home to the most beautiful and interesting of animals and served as the catalyst for Charles Darwin’s theory of natural selection. We will be guided by bilingual professional naturalists, experiencing the purest forms of untouched nature by hiking, swimming, and snorkeling throughout the islands. Without a doubt, the magic of the Galapagos Islands will truly make you think differently about the world.
Our regularly scheduled jet-flight will take us from Quito to the Galapagos Islands. After our transfer, we arrive at our home-base in the Galapagos Islands, Hotel Silberstein. Located in Puerto Ayora on Santa Cruz Island, Hotel Silberstein offers us comfortable accommodations just blocks from the sea and minutes from the center of this charming and relaxing seaside village. While at the hotel, our participants will enjoy a refreshing pool surrounded by tropical gardens, free wifi in the lobby, air-conditioned rooms, and tasty family-style dinners in the hotel restaurant.
Santa Cruz Island
Our first stop in the Galapagos Islands will be the Charles Darwin Research Station. Our guide will take us through the center’s educational museum, which traces the history and development of the Galapagos Islands. Next, we head to our fun and exciting guided kayak tour of the Bay of Puerto Ayora and enjoy time relaxing on the brilliant white-sand beaches at Tortuga Bay. Visit Los Gemellos, the twin craters formed by volcanic eruptions millions of years ago. We will walk through Ranchos Primicias, home to the fabled giant tortoises and then walk through the awe-inspiring lava tunnels. Time is also spent in town, browsing through the local shops, watching the fishermen bring in the day’s catch, and enjoying the sunset over this beautiful tropical island.
Seymour Island & Bachas Beach
Seymour Island is home to many of the exotic birds that the Galapagos Islands are known for, including the famous blue-footed boobies. Watch as the males do their distinctive one-footed dance to impress their female counterparts! We will hike to Flamingo Pond, swim with rays and tropical fish in the turquoise waters, and bask in the sun to round out this perfect day.
Enjoy a day in paradise walking on beautiful white beaches, hiking on moon-like trails, and snorkeling in crystal-clear waters. We will climb to the top of the island for an incredible view of Pinnacle Rock, with magnificent vistas of the Pacific Ocean and five of the Galapagos Islands. We will snorkel and swim alongside the sea turtles, Galapagos Penguins, sea lions, and innumerable exotic fish. Be sure to watch your step while taking pictures – we don’t want to step on the sunbathing iguanas!
Santa Fe Island
Our visit to Santa Fe Island begins with a beach landing on Barrington Bay on the northeast side of the island. We will be greeted by large numbers of sea lions that are found on the beaches in this tranquil bay. Keep your eyes open – these awesome animals can often be seen surfing in the waves near the island! We will hike two trails from the beach for a close-up look at the Santa Fe Land Iguana. When we are finished on land we will put on our masks and fins and jump into the crystal-clear bay for a look at the exotic fish, turtles, and baby sea lions as they swim past us in this exotic paradise!
*Please note that the islands visited may be altered due to Galapagos Islands National Park regulations.